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Elon Musk

Written by: Ashlee Vance
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (951 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

A remarkable man in possession of limitless curiosity and intellect, Elon Musk makes a fascinating subject. 

Tech reporter Ashlee Vance has shadowed him for a year to bring us an engaging and deeply personal account of the man who wants to send us into outer space.

South African-born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it.

He is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey, Jr. The personal tale of Musk's life comes with all the trappings one associates with a great, drama-filled story. He was a freakishly bright kid who was bullied brutally at school and abused by his father. In the midst of these rough conditions and the violence of apartheid South Africa, Musk still thrived academically and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he paid his own way through school by turning his house into a club and throwing massive parties.

He started a pair of huge dot-com successes, including PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk was forced out as CEO and so began his lost years, in which he decided to go it alone and baffled friends by investing his fortune in rockets and electric cars. Meanwhile Musk's marriage disintegrated as his technological obsessions took over his life.... 

Elon Musk is the Steve Jobs of the present and the future and for the past 12 months he has been shadowed by tech reporter Ashlee Vance. Elon Musk is an important, exciting and intelligent account of the real-life Iron Man.

©2015 Ashlee Vance (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about Elon Musk

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Bit biased but awesome read

Loved his view of life. Here is what I got - Strongly opinionated, unconventional and encouraging. Follow your heart, keep yourself informed. Read as much as possible on topics of your interest.

16 people found this helpful

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Brilliant writing!

The book had an amazing flow describing everything in perfect detail, right from Elon's beginning to what he is now. Amazing listen!

3 people found this helpful

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Inspiring and mind blowing

This book describes how dedicated and committed Elon musk is to achieve his goals. You will get an insight to how he started in South Africa, came to USA and became the Celebrity Entrepreneur he is today. There are chapters dedicated to each phase in his life.
The narration was very interesting. Fred Sander changes his tone every time someone speaks.
Overall the book and the narration both deserve a 5 star.

16 people found this helpful

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Elon rocks

Loved it, must listen if you want to get motivated, listen now go ahead and download.

1 person found this helpful

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Getting upclose with my idol

Getting glimpse of the man i admire and idolise is the greatest treat. aspiring and inspiring tale of a man who defies all the rules to make the world little better than before.

1 person found this helpful

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Inspiration from elon musk for life

Very inspiring biography of my guru 3
Will Listen it once again and again whenever need motivation

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LOVED THIS BOOK❤❤❤❤❤

As I was approaching towards end of the book..... it was like loosing a friend!❤🧡

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Great insight into the life of Elon musk

Really good book on the life of eon musk and doesn't just sink down to basic sycophancy but rather an objective view on the life of an innovator like Elon Musk.

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Informative

nice read. just author goes overboard with praising Musk for his achievement while condoning him on how he treats employees

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Space. Energy. Technology. Internet.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in space, renewable energy, internet and technology in general. The author, Ashlee Vance has created one of the best book which will inspire 1000s of young entrepreneurs and college students who what to make a real difference. The book starts with Elon's childhood, hobbies and then his education, his moving to Canada from South Africa and then to the USA. He then shows us Elon's struggle in the silicon valley, creation of Zip 2 and then politics in PayPal and in the later chapters he we can see how Elon Musk created the famous rocket company Space X and then how he became a part of Tesla and the struggles to keep both alive for a long time. This is a really inspiring book, I enjoyed every bit of it.

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  • innovate risk
  • 26-10-17

Fascinating insight

This is an excellent audio book onto the insights of Elon Musk. In particular the first half provides a brilliant view of his background, his leadership style and the type of personality that drives such an interesting person.

I did find the second half of the book a bit too much about the industry of space exploration, electric cars and solar power. This meant you were losing the insights into the person, and it became a more technical book on the industry.

Overall a great read but perhaps this should have been 2 books - one about the person and one about the industries.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Alison Cope
  • 13-08-17

Fascinating

I found Elon's story really fascinating but I would have liked to hear more from Elon himself.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-20

Proudly South African

Great story and very inspiring. Elon has a brilliant mind and makes me proud to be a South African.

Would highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-06-18

Excellent Book

Loved the book and the narrator was really good. Easy to listen to. Put the book on everyday while working.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fabrice Kabongo
  • 12-06-16

Very inspiring!

when you listen to this book, you know your dream of changing the world can be achieved

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jamie
  • 18-06-20

Elon f*cking Musk

Absolutely inspiring, the man is a beast. What I find incredible is how it all started when he left Joburg! Wild wild wild.

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  • Anirudh Pandya
  • 17-06-20

Emotionless - only facts no character

Reading this book was like reading the encyclopaedia dedicated to Elon Musk. Probably gave Elon an ego boost, it left me uninspired. Could not read more than 2 chapters.

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  • toby Perry
  • 11-06-20

Elon

Well written and easy to follow. The narrator is clear and easy to listen to. A fascinating insight into what makes Elon tick.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-05-20

Probably the best biography I ever read

A must read for all aspiring entrepreneurs, engineers, technologists and dreamers. Very inspiring and motivating.

Very nicely written and beautifully narrated.

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  • Author Matthew Robert Payne
  • 11-05-20

Elon seems like a really gifted man

It seems that Elon is a bit like the apple creator and CEO Steve Jobs, very good at big ideas but shocking to staff and people that work for him. I could not listen to the end when I heard what happened to his secretary and hardest worker around the 12 hour mark. I wish Elon great success, but I am not sure I could handle being his staff.

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  • Andrew
  • 15-01-17

Fascinating insight but a little repetitive

Well written book with a good relatively independent view of the history of Musks companies. Issue is repetitive nature of second half of the book- lots of the same principles come up time and again without really developing much further insight into the direction or the individual.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Arvin Seeva
  • 26-12-16

An eye opening insight into the future.

A recommended biography of a person that sounds like a slave driver, but driven by passion for a better future and humanity.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 13-12-16

Too much rambling

There are very good parts in this book about Elon Musk's career but there is a lot of filler by talking about how his companies do better than the competition by doing this or other design choices. Most of them are subjective opinions of the author or the people interviewed and are not measurable facts. Also all of his childhood living with his father is missing yet they keep alluding to it later on as a key point in his life. I feel I learned something from Elon as an entrepeneur in spite of the filler of this book though so not all was lost.

8 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 20-12-16

The power of personality

If you could sum up Elon Musk in three words, what would they be?

insightful, enjoyable, entertaining

What did you like best about this story?

Musk is just a balls out force of will.

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

He is a solid performer and made the autobiography experience enjoyable.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

7 people found this helpful

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  • Beshr
  • 03-12-16

Well-rounded great book

Really deserves all 5 stars. Most importantly is the fact that a lot of lessons can be distilled from this book, which is much more important than "performance" or "story". Highly recommended.

5 people found this helpful

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  • MJK
  • 01-10-16

Great insight into Musk's worldview

Really enjoyed this background on the vision and drive of Elon Musk. Puts a lot of things in perspective and tells an amazing story. Well worth a listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • David Sucea
  • 10-09-16

Amazing

Very good book, highly recommended. It shows what it really takes to be successful if you translate it to whatever it is you would like to do

4 people found this helpful

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  • J. Tyler
  • 17-01-17

Very good

Good narrator, great insight into Elon Musk and overall a very good book. Incredibly interesting!!!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ed R
  • 05-01-17

Inspirational story

Being an engineer myself I found learning about Musk's approach and achievements fascinating and inspiring. Would highly recommend for anyone interested in technology or business.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MR R.
  • 08-11-16

Hard work

Quite sycophantic & laborious. Not delivered with much emotion or deep personal insight. Elon Musk is an interesting character but this biography doesn't really convey it well. I appreciate readers are generally supposed to give the impression of the person reading it themselves but it was dryly delivered & was a real struggle to finish. Lack of deep personal information also lacking.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 17-06-16

An underwhelming narrative of a really cool guy

This book is a bit of a let-down. You will learn a bit about Elon and his companies, but it will sap 13 hours of your life away and you won't be a better person for it.

You'd think there's so much you can learn from Elon Musk, but this author didn't really make much effort to gather any nuggets of insightful information, just snippets of hearsay from sources that have worked around Elon. Listening to the book feels kind of perverted because it's written in a way where the author digs up lots of dirt on him the way a trash magazine reports on the secret lives of celebrities.

The Author even gloats mildly about his tenacity in pestering Musk until he agreed to let him write the book.

Don't bother listening to this one.

64 people found this helpful

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  • Mikhail
  • 17-06-16

Fascinating story of an exceptional man

Things I liked:

1. Elon Musk's story is nothing like you have ever heard, even if you have studied the greatest men and women to grace this planet.

2. His big picture thinking and pursuit of ideals, never backing down until those ideals are achieved is grandiose.

3. The idea that a man like this is alive at this present moment gives me the extra motivation to work hard on my purpose and perhaps come across Elon one day.

4. Both the writing by Ashlee Vance and reading by Fred Sanders is fantastic. The story flows very well and I will undoubtedly be listening to this again.

Things I disliked:

1. I wish there was more.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Rufus Keown
  • 31-05-17

A really good read (listen)

Really enjoyed musks story of obsession and his drive to make the world a better place. Highly recommended for those who believe in a bright future.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 21-05-16

Loved it

Great story well told, if slightly biased towards the end. He is an amazing and terrifying man.

4 people found this helpful

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  • MKG
  • 07-05-16

Best Biography Ever!

Simply the most impressive and exciting true story about a person's life that I've ever known.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 05-08-19

Great book

Couldn’t put this book down, Elon is a super interesting bloke. Made my top 15 list

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-07-17

Changing force

Musk has ambitions that are so magnetic that it makes you want to change the world too.
He really is shaping the future, Ashlee Vance does an outstanding job presenting this.

2 people found this helpful

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  • benedict
  • 20-05-16

such an amazing story.

Extreme management and perseverance to achieve what he does, inevitably burning people on the way. His arrogance and dictator style leadership means he achieves the impossible. Lucky he has an underlying altruistic vision of solutions for humananity which drives him.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Julian Rich
  • 22-07-20

Amazing person

I love this guys vision. If one thing is for sure, it is we need more visionaries like him.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 11-07-16

Brilliant book

An amazing story of a truly remarkable and resilient man. Vance captures Musk's personality, both good and bad points, and digs deep into his success and failures.

Very well narrated.

3 people found this helpful